Russian Federation surveillance aircraft flies over Washington secure airspace

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"The United States is notified ahead of time of the intended flight path of observation flights, participates in the development of agreed flight plans, has US observers on the aircraft during the flight, and receives a copy of the imagery taken by the Russian aircraft at the conclusion of the mission".

Just Wednesday morning, it was revealed that Donald Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort had his Virginia home raided by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents working on the special counsel's Russian Federation probe. In a second flight Wednesday afternoon, the aircraft flew over Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Trump is taking a working vacation during White House renovations. It also passed by Joint Base Andrews, home to Air Force One. Moscow didn't think much of the idea at the time, but after the Cold War, Russia reconsidered when Bush brought it up again. Washington also carried out similar surveillance flights over Russian airspace in the past.

One mission in March 2014 - a joint German and USA mission flight - over Russia's border with Ukraine reportedly helped in the detection of Russian military activities in eastern Ukraine.

The Pentagon and State Department said that before the flights, each state is given the flight plan of the mission and escorts fly aboard the aircraft to make sure it complies with the treaty.

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'As per the treaty, we can not confirm any locations until after the mission is over. "Prior to an overflight, each overflown state is notified of the observation mission's planned flight path", officials said. "They come here just like we go there", a USA official said. Officials call it a confidence and security building measure among the 34 states, allowing for verification and compliance with military agreements. The U.S. State Department says Russian Federation and the U.S. have buzzed each other 165 times over the past 15 years.

In the last 15 years, the U.S. and Russian Federation have done this a combined 165 times, Politico said. Revoking it would heighten tensions not reduce them'. After each flight, the host nation gets a copy of any imagery taken by the observation aircraft. The Washington, DC area is not excluded from this requirement.

Observation flights by member countries are allowed over the entire territory of other member states.

The Russian plane can conduct intelligence gathering including aerial photography, thermal imaging, and picking up signals intelligence.

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